Barack Obama meets with then-president Hu Jintao in Beijing. (Reuters/Jason Lee.)
Nothing could be a better sign from the administration of President Barack Obama than a decision to kill the “pivot.”
The pivot, of course, is the vastly expensive, counterproductive and highly provocative shift of American military resources from the war-weary Middle East to China and the Pacific. At best, the pivot is a transparent effort by the military-industrial complex to justify its bloated spending on “defense” by yapping about the supposed threat from China. At worst, the pivot is an actual, on-the-ground (and on-the-sea and in-the-air) effort to “contain” China.
Sequester aside, with levels of spending on the Department of Defense likely to fall during the 2010s, the United States can’t afford the pivot. Much of it would involve vastly expensive naval and air force weapons systems programs that Washington cannot pay for.
Already, the right-wing Washington Times is reporting:
National security officials in the military and at the Pentagon are voicing growing worries that the second Obama administration is preparing to jettison the new policy focus on Asia known as the “pivot” or rebalancing.
And worry they should. The paper also reports:
Evidence cited by these officials includes a recent Chinese government visitor who was told that the White House plans to kill the shift to Asia in mid-2013 as part of its conciliatory approach to China. Beijing is the key, but unspoken, target of the major military and diplomatic effort to increase security in Asia and calm the fears of US allies alarmed by what they see as the new Chinese hegemon in Asia.
The new Obama foreign policy team, especially Chuck Hagel, are reported not to be enamored of the idea of an Asian pivot, says the Times.